16 answers

Advice on Transitioning to Big Girl Bed

My daughter will be 3 in July and has yet to climb out of her crib, has no issues going to sleep (she has always been a GREAT sleeper) and seems to like her crib just fine. However, we will be moving in with my mom in the beginning of Aug. and she will be starting preschool in the fall and she has been day time potty trained since Feb. I would like for her to go into a big girl bed when we move so that she can use the bathroom at night if she needs to and because I really don't think she needs to be in the crib anymore. I was wondering if I should start to transition her at home first (I was thinking of just using her crib mattress on the floor with the same little lovies) OR if I should just put her into her big girl bed at my mom's house- kind of "cold turkey"??? What has worked for others out there or any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks p.s. There is already a regular full bed set up in her room at my mom's. So using the big girl bed at our house will not be an option.

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A mistake I made that you might want to avoid is leaving the big "room reveal" until bedtime. Then my son just wanted to play on, in, and around the bed. If I had given him the day (or even a few) to "kick the tires" so to speak I think he would have done better that first night. Since then, however, he has loved it and has always been great about staying in bed.

How about a couple of "sleep overs" at Grandmas to get her used to the idea. Then when you move she will be used to using the bed there.

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I got my son into a big boy bed around the same age by taking the mattress out of the crib at our summer home so that when we arrived the big boy bed was ready and the crib was out of service. We told him his crib was broken and it did not bother him one bit. He also has always been a great sleeper, but he had a brother who needed to get into the crib. He got out of bed a few times, but we just walked him back in there and put him in bed. by day 3 that was over. I think when you get to your Mom's cold turkey would be best. Showing her her new bed at Grandma's is good, but too much lead up and preparing just gives her reason for anxiety. Give her all her lovies in her new bed and stick close for a few days, I'm sure she'll be great! Good Luck!

Hi M.,

I think it would be a great idea to start transitioning your 3 yr old to a big girl's bed. That may make her feel a bit independent. I know the stores like Walmart and Burlington sells the 3 in 1 bed. It starts out as a crib, than transfer to a toddler bed than it regular full size bed. I think that is a wonderful idea.

Good luck!

does her crib convert? if so I would do that first with a rail - you can get a crib rail on line. otherwise i would do the mattress on the floor and then when she moves into the big girl bed, i might get one of the rails for it so she doesn't fall out. good luck.

Hi M.,

I moved both of my children from the crib to the toddler bed with no transition. I just told them a week or so ahead of time that on Saturday they were getting a big girl/boy bed, and we'd be putting the crib away. I think you should do it while you're still in your house so she's used to it. The new room and new bed might be too much of a change all at once. When we took the crib down, we put the toddler bed in the same place in their room, and they had their lovies, and they both did just fine. I knew my oldest, my daughter would be perfectly fine. I was nervous with my son because he was so attached to the crib, and had never climbed out, but he also did just fine. I think if you prepare them, it's much easier. I did the same with his NUKS. I started talking about the NUK fairy a whole month before she actually came. I figured it would still be a nightmare to take them away, but again, he was prepared and he willingly handed them over. He slept all night that first night, and only started asking for them at nap the next day, but got over it quickly when I reminded him about the present the NUK fairy brought him. Good luck!

Hi there!
We moved our daughter into her big girl bed with out transition, we just did cold turkey, we let her pick out the bedding theme that she wanted and we decorated her "new" room and just made it an exciting event for her. She went right to sleep the first night and we never had a problem. We are getting ready to move our youngest who is 2 into her big girl bed and we are going to take the same approach.
Good luck!

A mistake I made that you might want to avoid is leaving the big "room reveal" until bedtime. Then my son just wanted to play on, in, and around the bed. If I had given him the day (or even a few) to "kick the tires" so to speak I think he would have done better that first night. Since then, however, he has loved it and has always been great about staying in bed.

Hi M.,

I have a 6 year old little girl and had transitioned her to a queen size bed when she was 2 and has been there every since. As she loves the extra room for all her stuffed animals and a Lab.


We basically did it cold turkey--my daughter was like yours, and she rarely tried to climb out of the crib (she only tried once and scared herself too badly to try again) so about two weeks before her third birthday, we transitioned her into a big girl bed.

The whole week leading up to it, we would say "Five days until we get your brand new big girl bed!! Four days... etc" and she got really excited about it. She had no problems transitioning, and we took her crib apart the same day she was in the bed so she understood that this was a permanent thing.

Also, the day she was going to sleep in the bed for the first time, we wore her out (lots of time outside, a shorter afternoon nap, a much later bedtime) so she was too tired to mess around before bed, and she understood the bed was for sleeping and not to get out.

Good luck! :)

I would think a little transition before the move would help. But keep in mind than even if she's in a big bed, you will still need to get up with her in the middle of the night if she has to go. She's too little to be walking around in the dark house alone, and may need help with her jammies when she's drowsy.

We recently went on vacation with our 2 year old. He was in his crib at home, but he slept in a full size bed in the hotel. It was hard for the first 3 days, but it was so easy after that! He loved the fact that it was his "big boy" bed and he loved to climb up into it all by himself. Since he was used to sleeping in the big bed for a week, we transitioned him to the big bed at home (also a full size) when we got back and had no issues. That was about 3 weeks ago, and he is doing great! Instead of buying the expensive bed rails, we decided to use 2 big pillows put under the fitted sheet to act as a barrier so he doesn't fall out of bed. The other side of the bed is pushed against the wall. If your daughter is still ok sleeping in the crib, I would just wait to put her in the big bed at your mom's. It worked for us. Good luck!

What we did for our daughter was talked about it a LOT before transitioning and showing her the different beds (even though she has the crib that changes to a toddler bed) we wanted her to see what it would look like. We also asked what new big girl bedding she would like and let her pick it out. We had no problems other than a bit of her testing the limits on getting out of her bed a few weeks after the transition (when she realized she could get out by herself). I would recommend changing to the bed well in advance of moving or well after moving - two major changes could disrupt her sleeping or potty training. Good luck!

Leave her in the crib. If she's happy you should be too. You can lower the mattress height and the gate so when she's ready she'll get out on her own. Then she'll be ready for a big girl bed. You don't want to move in with your mom and the little one goes thru bed changes and residence change. Keep her happy as long as possible.

How about a couple of "sleep overs" at Grandmas to get her used to the idea. Then when you move she will be used to using the bed there.

Lots of great advice. You may want to remove toys and other objects that she might play with/get into, except for a few books. If the bedrooms are separated from the rest of the house, you could gate it off too, to limit possible nighttime/early morning roaming.

Hi M.:

We went the cold turkey route and it worked. The key was to put together a "big" bed that was exciting and appealing. In our case, Batman did the trick - batman sheets and big batman pillow. I was afraid we would have some sleepless nights, but not one. Don't forget a waterproof mattress pad and side rails to make sure she doesn't roll out (we forgot about both of those until bedtime on a Sunday night and we were so bummed).

Good luck!

We moved to an apartment form my in-laws about a year ago and we changed my son's conviertible crib from a crib (at grandmas) to a big boy bed (at our new house). He loved it. Since it was also a new place I let both of my kids pick out a bed set (sheets/comforter set).

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